Sunday, July 16, 2006


GENUINE GROWTH


I keep seeing it and hearing it here and there-- just this morning in the newspaper, a woman of formerly youthful beauty, in the grip of metaselfishness does not appreciate her elder beauty; rather, she laments her "loss." "Who doesn't mind getting older?" asks her interviewer of the reader. I, for one. I have a lot more flexible fun now than I did when I was in my 20s and fun was bounded by all those constraints of image and ambition...

"Who doesn't mind getting older?" Might as well ask who doesn't mind being born, or being a child or an adolescent! Every age has its laments and regrets of passage that, in a life well lived, are more than offset by the rewards that come unbidden with genuine growth. If there is no true growth - as within as without - then one must bear increasing sadness at loss of joy that should have been.

But joy and pain, loss and gain give heart to every phase of the genuine life, without exception; it is a crime of the soul to believe otherwise, and an even greater crime to propagate that belief. I have found my elder age to be as deeply interesting and stimulating as I found childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, but less intellectually constraining, more spiritually satisfying and physically much wiser. That is the sparkle you see in a well-lived elder's eye.

All that ignorance under the bridge leaves you in a more spiritually youthful state of mind than you can have at an age that is younger merely in years. It is sad to see people fear to age. Might as well fear to grow. Every bit of a life, from birth to death, is by nature an adventure; who lives genuinely savors every heartbeat of that vital passage, the dark as key as the light, where losses are naturally salved by the lasting measures of pleasure and joy whence they arose.

And if you've genuinely lived, when it comes time to die, you simply step forward into the light as you always have.

15 comments:

Chancy said...

Outstanding sentence and philosophy.
Thanks Robert

"And if you've genuinely lived, when it comes time to die, you simply step forward into the light as you always have."

annie said...

Beautiful

Maya's Granny said...

The night I went to bed 59 years, 364 days old I was satisfied with myself, felt self-confident and powerful. And somehow when I woke up 60, it had multiplied by about 100. I was amazed. How could my sense of being at ease in my own skin increase so much while I slept? Something about that magic number.

suzanne said...

another large
HURRAH
for everything you say here

this is the biggest surprise
of my life

(topping
even the surprise of how much
I enjoyed
birthing and mothering my sons)

that I should Be and Do
as I am
at in these times
of my life

past 50
past 55
past 60
past 65

all of it as glorious
as when I was 4
and exploring the world
beneath my willow tree. . .

stu said...

hey robert. eloquently put as ever. I've realised since being in japan just how much of a preoccupation death is in the UK. people genuinuely live in fear of it. it could be the same in the US. I'm sure it doesn't help that we're brain-washed in church that we have a 50% chance of spending eternity in hell. I don't know it has been being in japan or if it's just how I am but I agree whole heartedly with what you say. the present is where it's always at.

Winston said...

Well structured and beautifully penned...

I would never attempt to speak for others, but my only real regret about nearing the end of the road is that I want more of it. It has been a wonderful trip, with bumps, detours, and plenty of smooth open road. It feels like my growth over the years on several fronts has all converged to prepare me for living on this orb and I'm ready to get on with it... but I see the sign ahead for the exit ramp...

Joy Des Jardins said...

Beautiful Robert. I for one think we all should take your little missive, fold it up, put it in our pockets, and carry it with us until it's our time to step forward into the light...lest we forget.....thank you Bob.

Winston said...

Sending a few of my readers your way with my post Stepping Into The Light...

http://www.nobodyasked.com/2006/07/16/stepping-into-the-light/

Tabor said...

Some days I feel as you do and some days I feel sad that it has all gone by so fast. I miss some things that I used to do -- such as kiss the little foreheads of my small children, get excited (in a good way) about a phone that rings after 10 at night, and the naive joy of new experiences.

Anonymous said...

do you REALLY believe all that, robert????????????????

Robert Brady said...

It's not a matter of belief for me; is it for you?

Zen said...

Here here, well spoken!

karen said...

Just discovered this blog and particularly love this post. The last sentence is such a succinct expression of all that is good, and true, and beautiful... thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful in theory, and it's not that I wouldn't love to be surrounded by family and granchildren and loving partner. But it's not so easy for us all, and I sometimes think not easy at all for older women living alone. Of course there are wonderful times, and I agree that the age you are is interesting and the older the easier to break free of a lot of that self-consciousness that makes life a lot harder than it needs to be. Oh, maybe it's only that I am in a black mood today, but just a tiny fiddle- faddle on the universality of being able to "live well".

However, your writing is nice and I am glad to hear you are enjoying your life so much.It does make for a very good blog.

Robert Brady said...

Anonymous, my point has to do with living genuinely, and being well-lived (which few do all the time), not necessarily living well (in the usual 'well-off' sense). Of course it's not the entirety of life. There's plenty of dark and discouraging writing around, I just try now and then to put my little bit on the other side of the scale... Hope that's where you are most of the time.